Military Wiki
Type 88
Type 85 variant with 125mm gun
Type Main battle tank
Place of origin  People's Republic of China
Service history
In service 1980 – 2005 (China)
Production history
Designed 1981 – 1987
Manufacturer First Inner Mongolia Machinery Factory
Variants Type 80/80-II

Type 85/85-1/85-II/IIA/IIM/AP

Type 88A/B/C

Weight 38-39.5 tonnes
Length 6.325 m
Width 3.372 m
Height 2.29 m
Crew 4 (3 in variants with 125mm gun)

Armor Type 80: Cast Steel Turret

Type 85II/Type 88: Welded Steel/Composite Armor Turret. May be fitted with Explosive Reactive Armor

Type 80/85: 105mm Type 83 or 83-I rifled gun

Type 85IIA/Type 88C: 125mm smoothbore gun

7.62 mm coaxial machine gun
12.7 mm air-defence machine gun
Engine 12150L-7BV diesel
730 hp (544 kW)
Power/weight 18.5-19 hp/tonne
Transmission Mechanical, planetary
Suspension Torsion bar
430 km, 600 km with external fuel
Speed 56 km/h [1]

The Type 80 (Chinese: 80式; pinyin: Bālíng Shì) and the Type 88 (Chinese: 88式; pinyin: Bābā shì) are a family of Chinese second-generation main battle tanks (MBTs). They are also known as the ZTZ80 and ZTZ88.


In the 1980s China's sole MBT in service was the aging Type 59 which was obsolete compared to the Soviet T-62, T-64 and T-72 and Western designs. Thus, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) requested new tanks that could match Russian designs, which led to the development of the Type 69 tank that incorporated some technologies from a captured Soviet T-62 tank. However the Type 69 failed to satisfy PLA requirements and was more of an export success that saw limited domestic service.

Further tank development commenced, leading to the WZ122, Type 80 and the Type 90 prototypes. The Type 80 itself began development in 1980 under 617 Factory along with 201 Institute, 447 Factory, and 616 Factory.[2] The only variant that went into PLA service was the Type 88 in the late 1980s.[3] The Type 88 was further developed into the Type 96.


The Type 80 inherited the design philosophy of the Type 69/79 which combined a Soviet style chassis and turret with Western technology. As in the Type 69 series, the initial Type 80 design possessed a hemispherical bowl-shaped turret similar to the T-54/55. Another similarity was that the driver sat in the left forward section of the hull .[3]

However, the Type 80 used a local copy of the NATO 105mm rifled gun instead of the Soviet 100mm rifled gun. It was also the first Chinese design to be seen using a system of six road wheels and three support rollers .[3] The first Chinese tanks to incorporate applique composite armor were later variants of the design.[4]

The Type 85-I(Storm-1) series had a new welded turret design. The Pakistani export Type 85IIAP was the first to equip a 125mm smoothbore gun which was later seen on the Type 88C/Type 96.

Type 80 with 105mm gun

Storm-1. Prototype designation for export. Never mass-produced. Welded turret on Type 80 chassis.


The Type 80 and 85 series were prototypes for export while the Type 88 series was for domestic use. The M designation is usually for export tanks.[5][6]

Type 80

  • Type 80 - First Chinese second generation tank design. Prototype, none produced [3]
  • Type 80-II - Includes new NBC protection system and fire control systems.[3]

    Type 80 with 105mm rifled gun

Type 85

Type 85-III with 125mm smoothbore gun

  • Type 85-I - Prototype with Type 80 chassis, welded turret and 105 mm rifled main gun. Also known as Storm-1(Chinese: "风暴"1). None sold.[4]
  • Type 85-II - Equipped with new locally produced 105mm gun.[7] Engine power upgraded from 730 horse power(HP) to 800. Also known as Storm-2(Chinese:"风暴"2). None sold.[4]
  • Type 85-IIA/Type 85-IIM - Prototype with Type 80-II’s chassis and the Type 85-II’s turret. Early versions had poor reliability.[8] Combat weight of 41 tons. Armed with 125mm gun with autoloader which reduced crew to 3.[5] Pakistan ordered several hundred Type 85-IIAP ("P" signifying Pakistan).[2]
  • Type 85-III - Prototype with 1000HP engine and the T-72's transmission system.[4] Included ERA panels.[8]

Type 88

  • Type 88 - Based on Type 80-II design. Front storage racks on turret removed to fit explosive reactive armor (ERA) plates.
  • Type 88A - Improved 105mm gun. Could be fitted with ERA plates.
  • Type 88B
  • Type 88C - Also known as Type 96. Domestic version of Type 85-IIM. [5] Capable of firing ATGMs.[9] Later upgraded to Type 96A standard.[5]


Map of Type 88 operators in blue with former operators in red

Current operators

  •  Burma - 230+ Type-88B[10]
  •  People's Republic of China - Limited service of 500 tanks in the Beijing Military Region.[2][5] This number is contradicted by the IISS which estimates 1000 tanks of 88A/B variants as of 2008.[3]
  •  Sudan - 200 in service (Type 80)

Tanks of similar era

Tanks of similar performance


  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Type 88 Main Battle Tank -". 2010-06-07. Retrieved 2015-11-03. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 "Type 80". Retrieved 2015-11-03. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "中国坦克专家谈"外贸"坦克发展". Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Blasko, Dennis J. (2012). The Chinese army today : tradition and transformation for the 21st century. Abingdon, Oxford: Routledge. pp. 152. ISBN 9780415783217. 
  6. "Type 85 Main Battle Tank -". 2013-06-01. Retrieved 2015-11-06. 
  7. "Type 80". Retrieved 2015-11-06. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Worldwide Equipment Guide 1 (2011 ed.) Ground Systems.. US Army TRADOC Intelligence Support Activity.. pp. 5–45. 
  9. "中国陆军88C式坦克". Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  10. John Pike. "Pakistan Army Equipment". Retrieved 6 March 2013. 

External links

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